main entrance of the Shanghai Library.
Though the facility is ultra modern, this public library has the oldest surviving copy of Liu Hui's edition (ca. 260 AD) of "The Nine Chapters of the Mathematical Art" or "Jiuzhang suansho." This collection of 246 problems is thought to date to the Han Dynasty (ca. 200 BC). Today scholars recognize Liu Hui as the most prominent figure in ancient Chinese mathematics.
The Nine Chapters contain practical applications to astronomy, surveying and elementary trigonometry in addition to ordinary arithmetic and geometry. Solutions to linear equations include the method known in the West as "Gaussian Elimination."